The Old Man and the Pleas

I got up this morning and forced myself into the day. With my school board hearing approaching at a dreadnought’s pace, I had to formalize my thoughts into something I could actually present. I had some coffee and finalized some plans for our weekend trip first, since that happens first. Just as I was nearing time to head home, Allen texted and invited me out to lunch.

I met him at New China, and we spent the hour catching up. He said he lost his aunt that raised him, but he was more interested in what I’d been up to lately. I filled him in on the craziness, and he wished me well. I somehow managed to make it out of there without a bellyache, and he insisted on paying for my meal. I gave him a quick ride around town in the Model 3, and then I headed toward home.

John, the electrician, hit me up for some money again. I tried to withdraw it from an ATM, but I guess the amount was too high. It didn’t tell me why, but it declined the transaction and spat out my card. I headed home instead, to clean up for the day. Then I went to a location with humans to get his cash. He eventually showed up to my house, and I clarified what I wanted done. He seemed insistent on doing something completely different, but hopefully I got my message across about what I’d really like done. I’ll probably have to clean out the corner and precut some holes to make absolutely certain, but I gave him a little over half the cost of the job, and he was on his way.

I spent the rest of the afternoon recompiling what I wanted to present to the school board. It didn’t look as pretty as I had hoped, but maybe most of the text should be saved for myself anyway. I can always have a couple copies of that on hand, while giving out mass copies of my supporting documents for closer inspection. I’ll have several hours of uninterrupted time with Summer in the car tomorrow, so that will be my chance to really fine-tune everything.

It started to storm after nightfall, so I rushed to pack and then visited Dad before heading up to Summer’s for the evening. It got late fast, and I tried to pack too much into my evening. In the end, I made it to bed by midnight after a nightcap to calm the nerves. I’ll set an alarm for the first time in a month, and it’ll be one foot in front of the other for the foreseeable future.

Boldly going forward ’cause we can’t find reverse.

I got up when everyone left this morning, and made myself some fried rice out of some leftover egg yolks from a cake that Summer baked. Then I went home and got showered before my Tesla service appointment. Jacob came over a little before 11, and we kind of laughed at the fact that they sent him out for basically nothing since they denied any fault in my autopilot complaints. After that, we stood around talking about motorcycles for a while. He made a comment about the Grom, and it turned out he knew Chase from the group of guys that gets together to stunt ride.

Dad came over just as we were finishing up, and we went next door to work on Bác Vân’s patio door. We kept fighting getting it out from the inside when we should have just started from the outside. The fixed glass door was actually way easier to remove, so even though we had to lift more things, it was way less trouble than going out the wrong direction. The rollers didn’t seem to be in awful shape, but they were a part of a bracket that ran the width of the door.

We went to Lowe’s first to try and find some replacement rollers, but they didn’t have any. We saw Manuel on the way out, and he tried to help even in plain clothes, but he didn’t think they had the whole bracket, so we headed to Leonard’s. They had just the wheels, but they bolted on and we weren’t sure that would work with the bracket we had. In the end, we knew we were missing a screw to lower the rollers on one side, so Dad picked up a replacement and we headed back. I spotted Allen on his old Kawasaki on the way back, and it looked like he was enjoying the ride.

The replacement screw ended up not fitting, but after going through a couple drawers and several cookie tins of random screws, we actually found the original! I just had a feeling about it, and luck was on our side. We got the door back together and it was marginally better, but then the locking mechanism kept falling down. We went back to Leonard’s and picked up a new one, but then we had to Dremel the opening a bit in order for the latch to fit.

The project snowballed on us quite a bit, and we could still fix it better, but that was enough for one day. We put everything back together, Bác Vân forced some money on me, and some shrimp and rice on Dad. Then he went home and I waited for Summer to come get the paperwork to request a new title for the Pathfinder.

Autumn dropped Eaddie off to go ride her bike, and then Summer got her paperwork for the DMV. I waited around, exhausted, for Eaddie to finish, and then I took her home. It wasn’t long after that she wanted to go to the mall to do homework with some friends. I dropped her off, and then remembered I left my valve stem caps off for my appointment. I ran home to get them, and then headed back up to Summer’s.

Julie called me about another Entergy job I asked her about, and we ended up talking for quite a while, even as I had to pick Eaddie back up. It seems that no matter what happens next, it won’t happen fast. I’m fortunate to have savings, but we had plans for all that money I was making. Hopefully my hearing next week will keep that flowing at least for a little longer.

There’s gotta be a better way. I just haven’t started looking for it yet.

We Have a Date

Eaddie woke me up from a pretty deep slumber this morning, and I hopped right up to get her to school just in time. Summer was at work, and Autumn left super early because of an Ed Rising competition out of town. I made it home after dropping Eaddie off, and it was a cold, slow start to the morning for me until I got an email from Judy with only a single date and time for my hearing.

After that, I went outside to try and reset the Pathfinder’s anti-theft system, but after pulling the battery and jumping through hoops with the ignition, I finally called a locksmith that told me it was most likely a bad computer that would just have to be replaced. That, of course, means either finding another old one to swap myself, or taking it to the dealership since it would involve reprogramming the keys anyway. That whole car just hardly seems worth the trouble, but hopefully airing it out today will at least help with the smell.

Later in the afternoon, Bác Vân called and asked me to come oil her back door because she was having trouble opening it. I felt bad for Doug, because she kept griping about him not fixing it, but apart from replacing the rollers, there wasn’t much else we could do. I guess that can be a project for tomorrow.

I thought I might accomplish a bit more than that today, but my mind just kept spinning in circles. I need a way to reboot myself, but I just don’t know what I need and at this point it feels impossible. At least I have a date for my board hearing, so that should help destress me. Maybe.

Eaddie got a ride home from a friend after her band buddies program. Once Summer got home, I headed up and grabbed some tacos along the way. Then I spent all evening trying to plan a couple days in Kansas City again. This is all just so much happening at once, and I’m done having it all on the back of my mind.

At least I’ve got rewards.

It’s Electric

I still couldn’t sleep in much today, but I felt more rested than I had after the past week’s worth of nights. Judy responded to my email, but only to say that they would reach out as soon as they had some dates to choose from for my board hearing. I didn’t wait long to head home after that, and got started cleaning up a bit around the house. After a shower, I called a couple electricians to try and find one to install my Wall Connector. Doug’s Electrical had a girl answer the phone that didn’t seem to know what an electric vehicle charger was. I feel pretty confident they could have done the work, but she said they couldn’t. I ended up getting a hold of John from Arkansas River Valley Electrical, and he ballparked the job at $750, but said he could make it out later in the afternoon to check it out.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up in the garage, possibly unnecessarily. Summer came by after work and we tried to diagnose the Pathfinder, but then Eaddie needed a ride home from school because Autumn left sick at lunch time. I picked up a bucket of chicken on the way up to their house, but then John texted that he finally finished with his last job of the day and wanted to come by.

We had just enough time to eat, and then I left to meet him. He seemed super nice as he poked around a bit, though he didn’t actually touch much of anything, and mostly looked at the run from a distance. He said the internal panel wouldn’t support what I needed, but he said he could run it from the outside panel into the attic, and down the wall to where I wanted it.

With that short visit out of the way, I headed back up to Summer’s for the evening. There, I encountered frustration after frustration. The personalized license plate process has changed, and I couldn’t figure out how to pay for Summer’s online, so I’ll have to call tomorrow. Then I tried making the down payment, but Summer’s bank isn’t supported by Plaid, and her name isn’t on any of my accounts, nor do I have the total amount in any single account. To wrap up the night, my phone died and I struggled to get it charged enough to power back on. I’ve been super disappointed in the battery life, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of Life360. I can’t really quit using that while Autumn’s around though, because you can’t trust her any more than you’d trust a fart.

Too much at once.

Better Than Rock

Summer took Autumn to the gym this morning while I cleaned up some corned beef with Eaddie. Once they made it back, I headed home to clean up so Summer and I could go to the movies. Eaddie wanted to ride her bike, so Summer brought her over to do that while we were out. Bác Vân also had some kind of nut bread and a couple bánh bao for me.

When we got to the movies, we learned that Shazam! Fury of the Gods was showing in one of the tiny auditoriums for that showing, so we had to kill an hour before coming back at four. We ended up going back to get the Tesla, and then washed it before going for a drive around town. We made it up north, and then around to the marina before finally ending back up at UEC.

We were the only two people in Auditorium 5, which was awesome, but also kind of depressing for how much we really enjoyed the movie. I have no idea why it got such a bad rap, because we thought it was really solid story, and a great family flick.

Eaddie just barely beat us home after riding all around town, and we took her to BFD for dinner and ice cream. They were super busy, and the service and food were both actually really good this time. It always seems like lunch is really hit-or-miss, but dinner was great. We all got our fill.

Once we got back to the house, the girls headed home. Autumn had gone to Adam’s for dinner, but then got herself into trouble again for generally being awful and changing up her story to fit whatever she wanted to do. When I tried to head up to their house, the Pathfinder wouldn’t start. I tried poking around under the hood, but couldn’t tell much. It just acted like it was completely out of gas, but it appeared to have half a tank and drove fine earlier in the day.

I poked around a bit at my house for a while, and eventually just took the Model 3 up to the girls, who all appeared to have been in bed for a while before I got there. I was a bit restless again, but tried to go to bed before midnight.

What an absolute lack of previews.

Witchy Woman

I slept way better last night, no thanks to the constant snoring that Autumn did all night long. It aggravated all of us to the point that even Eaddie woke up and yelled at her to flip over, which helped for a bit. I wanted to sleep in a bit since we didn’t plan for breakfast, but that didn’t happen. I got up and showered while the girls packed everything up, and then they loaded into the car like we were leaving, but I went to check on Mom to see if they had plans.

We ended up going to the clubhouse to play some more games until Dad finished at the convention. Then we went downtown to try and find a seat at the Local Flavor Cafe. There was very clearly a group of people outside waiting, so we went to La Familia for some Tex-Mex instead.

The food was great as always, but the already-bitchy Autumn just got worse when I called her out for ordering three bean burritos for $20 when most of the rest of us shared fajita platters for a buck less. We made it back for the matinée show, and then we headed straight home after that.

Summer hadn’t been feeling the best over the past day or two, and it just got worse as we drove home without a word, listening to a new playlist maker I tested out on YouTube Music. Once we got there, the girls unloaded and Autumn started some laundry while Eaddie played the flute for literally hours. Summer put on the first Iron Man, and then went to bed. I laid with her for a little while, but still had to finish my evening routine before going to sleep myself.

Who’s got time for that?

State of Dinner

I had a horrible time trying to sleep again last night, but surprisingly it didn’t hurt me too bad during the day. We had breakfast and got out of the hotel, then made it down the road to The Butterfly Palace. It was a relatively short wait, but the greenhouse was a bit smaller than I expected for the size of the building. There also weren’t quite as many butterflies as I had envisioned, but it was still a good time. They had little vials of “a scoop” of orange Gatorade mixed with two quarts of water with a little fake flower on top, and we carried those around just hoping for butterflies to land on us. I had the bright idea to stick mine behind my ear, and I think I was the first one to actually attract a butterfly.

It was a really neat experience, and we watched a little short 3D film about monarchs before we made it downstairs for a tiny reptile room and a really cool mirror maze. I started really feeling the effects of my lack of sleep while the girls were looking around the gift shop, so I waited in the car until they came out. Then we started heading toward Eureka Springs, stopping in West Branson for gas, and then Reeds Spring for some lunch at Parmesan’s Pizzeria. Their tiny dining room was packed, so we waited for a table, and the pizza was worth the wait.

We finally made it to Eureka in the rain, and got checked into the hotel after a bit of a wait. They gave us a room right next to my parents, which was convenient. I bounced back and forth between our room and theirs to talk to Mom, and then Summer and I went down to the convention center to find Dad. We weren’t hungry during the dinner break, so the girls and I found a recreation area by the pool that had ping pong, mini golf, air hockey, a couple of pool tables, and some other stuff that was mostly out of order. It was actually a lot of fun, and was probably the best thing we could do to keep out of the rain.

Eventually we had to make our way back for the evening show, and Eaddie got picked as a volunteer again. The girls seemed to enjoy it enough that we thought they might actually be willing to stay another night, but then Autumn started to get cranky again as the evening progressed.

After the show, we all went downtown for a really late dinner at The Spring on Main. We actually parked right by the entrance, but I didn’t realize it was upstairs, and we walked up a couple blocks before I realized we were in the wrong place. We made our way back down, and then up the stairs into a small, mostly empty restaurant and bar. The menu gave me a little bit of sticker shock after glancing at the prices online, but I think it was worth it. Everyone was really happy with their upscale food. It all tasted really fresh and delicious, and the service would have been excellent even if we hadn’t showed up 30 minutes before closing.

Once we ate, we headed back to the room and we had to practically wrestle Autumn into the shower after over 48 hours. Summer put on Indiana Jones, and I wrapped up as quickly as I could, hoping to sleep through Autumn’s relentless snoring.

Suffer silently.

The South Will Rise Again

I had trouble getting to, and staying asleep last night. We tried to sleep in a little bit, but really didn’t. The girls got out of bed, and we had some breakfast before hitting the town. Our first stop was Ripley’s Believe It or Not! I found myself feeling like I had been out all night long, so I didn’t really enjoy myself much, but the girls thought it was neat. Then Eaddie and I drove next door to meet Summer and Autumn at Lost Treasure Minigolf. I just kept score while they played, but it was a little annoying to me that they weren’t being more competitive about it. It seemed like they were just going through the motions, but they insisted they had fun.

After golf, we drove around town a bit before stopping at Taco Bell for a small bite before our tour at the Titanic museum. The girls really enjoyed that, but again I was still just not in the mood to wander a museum reading, or even listening to a guided tour. It was neat, but I just wished I wasn’t so tired.

From there, we went back to the hotel to relax for a bit before going down the strip to the Dolly Parton Stampede. Autumn started pitching fits over the fact that I had called her out earlier in the day about eating nothing but potatoes. The show was alright, but I liked the Medieval Times show way more. Everyone got their fill, and we headed back to the inn.

While we were at Ripley’s earlier in the day, Summer had gotten a text to schedule her Model Y delivery. As soon as we got back to the inn, she got a call saying the Saturday delivery was a mistake, and they asked us to schedule next week. I got to work trying to plan around that, and then took Autumn to Walmart to pick up some things. As soon as we got back, she went outside for half an hour with a bag of potato chips, which was all the more maddening after she acted a fool all afternoon.

The girls settled into bed to some TV, and I did my best to get to sleep as quickly as possible.

This show seems seriously problematic.

Clear for Landing

We didn’t get up too early this morning, but tried to leave at a reasonable time. I went home to clean up, then brought my stuff back just as the girls were ready. We still had to get gas though, and while we were across town I stopped at my house again to try and find a phone mount.

With all that out of the way, we made our way north, stopping at the Rotary Ann and then at a Walgreens in Harrison. We made it into Branson just in time to check into the hotel, but we didn’t stay long. With today being the only day of really nice weather, we decided to go to Branson Landing where we could walk around outside.

We were pretty hungry by the time we passed through a couple stores, so we stopped at Guy Fieri’s Branson Kitchen to eat. We sat outside, right next to the ziplines, which were way noisier than they had any right to be. Summer and Autumn got some burgers that looked pretty good. Eaddie ended up getting the steak sandwich that I kind of wanted, and I got a whole rack of ribs so I could share a bit. I thought the ribs were probably the worst thing on the table, and they tasted fine, but were pretty dry and tough.

We continued around the shopping center and stopped for some ice cream at Kilwins before going back to the water show at the center of it all. It was a short show with a little water and fire, and then we made our way back to the hotel for an evening of The Avengers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Mac and cheese on top of toast? Where’s the cheese?

Clean Out Your Fridge!

I slept in for a while today, and eventually got out of bed to clean up some leftovers. I made one last bean burrito, and then warmed up some fish for Eaddie. She had been up cleaning and doing laundry. Autumn hardly came out except to gripe at Eaddie. I thought I’d make it home earlier than I did, but Summer beat me to it after leaving work early.

It rained all morning, but had mostly quit by the time I left. I packed most of what I would need for our trip into a backpack and took a shower. Julie called me after that, and we caught up a bit. Eventually I made it back up to the girls, and picked at some more leftovers. Noah came over right after I got there, and he hung out with the girls all night while Summer and I went to bed relatively early.

That groundhog is kind of a pig.